Automakers back in the loan biz as GM makes pitch for AmeriCredit

Flags fly outside the General Motors world headquarters building in Detroit, Mich.

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STEVE CHIOTAKIS:Seems like only yesterday the nation's big car makers wanted to get out of the financing business. Well, now General Motors says it's buying AmeriCredit Corporation for $3.5 billion. And Chrysler, owned by the Italian car company Fiat, reportedly is interested in originating more loans itself.

David Kiley is correspondent from AOL Auto's. He's with us from Ann Arbor, Mich. Good morning, sir.

DAVID KILEY:Good Morning.


CHIOTAKIS: Now I thought people weren't buying cars? Why the interest in getting back into auto financing?

KILEY: It's very difficult for GM, for example, and Chrysler, to make car loans to people unless they have control over their own lending institutions. Because if they have to just go the bank, GM and Chrysler have been saying they have not been able to make as many loans because of credit being tight and it's kind of holding back their recovery.

CHIOTAKIS: How much risk is involved in car loans?

KILEY: You know it's funny. Historically, people default on their homes faster than they default on their cars. Because cars are real freedom. And if you live in a place that doesn't have mass transportation, if you don't have a car, your freedom is cut off. And by the way, I hate to say it this way, it's an old saying: The reason people default on their homes faster than their cars is they can always live in their cars, they can't drive their homes.

CHIOTAKIS: Financial reform left a lot of car dealers out because of a loop hole. They're not lenders technically, right? If they had been included would we be seeing this action?

KILEY: I was disappointed to see car dealers exempt from that bill. There's a lot of great car dealers but there's also a lot of bad ones, and they often take advantage of poorly prepared consumers and people wind up signing up for stuff that they didn't know, or just aren't prepared for. And car dealers want that leverage during the transaction.

CHIOTAKIS:David Kiley is correspondent for AOL Autos, with us from Ann Arbor Mich. David, thanks.

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